Minutes of the Meeting of the Policy Council of the System Dynamics Society

18 August 1997

Istanbul, Turkey

In Attendance.


Yaman Barlas (President Elect), John D. W. Morecroft (Past President), Michael J. Radzicki (Secretary), George P. Richardson (President)

Policy Council:

David F. Andersen, Isaac Dyner, Robert Eberlein, Michiya Morita, Showing Young


Andrew Ford, David Ford, Hironori Kurono, Roberta Spencer (Executive Director)

1. Call to Order.

The meeting was called to order at 5:15 PM by President Richardson. As a first item of business, Richardson summarized the agenda for the members.

2. Approval of Minutes

Mike Radzicki moved and Bob Eberlein seconded a motion that "the minutes of the 11 March 1997 Policy Council meeting be approved." During discussion, John Morecroft wondered why Roberta Spencer was listed in the minutes as a "guest" rather than as a Policy Council member. He also wondered why David Lane, as Vice President - Publications, was not on the committee that is investigating issues surrounding virtual conference proceedings.

Mike Radzicki responded that the minutes were not in error as the Executive Director is not a member of the Policy Council. George Richardson responded that although Lane was not originally appointed to the committee, he could join it if he wanted to participate.

At the conclusion of the discussion a vote was taken. The motion passed.

3. Informational Items.


Free Exhibition Space for John Wiley and Sons, Inc. President Richardson announced that John Wiley and Sons has asked for free exhibition space, every year, at the Society's conference and had it granted to them for the Istanbul conference. He further noted that the Policy Council needed to vote on this matter and asked David Andersen and Yaman Barlas to think about it (and any other John Wiley issues that come to mind) and make a recommendation to the Policy Council at its next meeting. Bob Eberlein noted that, if free space is granted to John Wiley every year at the annual conference, the Society's Requirements for Hosting the System Dynamics Conference document should be revised to reflect this information.


Report of the Vice President - Finance. David Andersen explained that Jack Pugh will soon resign as Vice President - Finance because the Society's principal office has been moved to SUNY Albany. Jack will retain the office, however, until he has completed doing the books for the most recent accounting period. Jack will attend the next Policy Council meeting (to be held on 21 August 1997) to present the Society's most recent financial information.


Report of the Vice President - Publications. A report by Vice President - Publications David Lane was passed out to the members of the Policy Council. Bob Eberlein moved and Andy Ford seconded a motion that "the Policy Council thank David Lane for his efforts as Vice President Publications." The motion passed unanimously.


Report of the Executive Director. Roberta Spencer summarized her report on the status of the Society. A copy of the Executive Director's Report is available for viewing on this web site. Her basic message was that things are going well at the Society's office but she's had to work a lot of overtime. She's had some graduate assistant help, and this is the only way she's been "keeping her head above water." Finally, she suggested that there is a need for additional funds to run the Society's office (e.g., to pay for more graduate assistant help) and that the Administrative Committee (Paal Davidsen, Bob Eberlein, Jack Pugh, and the Society President) should therefore submit a proposal to the Policy Council to amend the budget and provide these funds.

At this point, John Morecroft asked the Executive Director a series of questions. He noted that there has been a gradual reduction in the prices for back issues of the System Dynamics Review and wondered if the prices were being reduced to clear-out the inventory of old issues. He also wondered if the Society could sell sets of back issues to libraries and interested Society members.

In response, Spencer said that an effort was being made to sell the back issues of the Review and that she sees no reason why the Society could not sell sets of back issues to libraries and interested Society members. She cautioned, however, that John Wiley and Sons keeps the back issues from the three most recent years of the Review (the Society, of course, owns the rest).

Morecroft then asked whether or not the Society could begin to accept credit card payments for back issues of the Review, beer game sets, and so forth. Spencer answered that the Administrative Committee could look into the matter.

Finally, Morecroft asked about the status of the electronic presence of the Society. Spencer responded the this was Paal Davidsen's initiative and that he'd be at the next Policy Council meeting to talk about it.


Report of the Japanese Chapter. Hironori Kurono passed out a copy of a report from the Society's Japanese Chapter. A copy of this report is available on this web site.


Update on the 1998 Conference. Mike Radzicki passed around a "Call for Papers" for the 1998 System Dynamics conference, to be held in Quebec City, Canada. Bob Eberlein noted that 1998 will mark the first time that the Society will jointly sponsor a conference with the conference organizer. Ventana Systems, Inc. and SUNY Albany have guaranteed the conference's financing.


Future Conference Site Proposals. A short discussion was held on the issue of future conference site proposals. Based on informal member information, the following possible conference locations were suggested:


Lisbon, Portugal


Washington, D.C.




Wellington, New Zealand


System Dynamics Institute. Bob Eberlein provided the Council with an overview of the System Dynamics Institute. It is a system dynamics industry group that intends to take managers to a high level of modeling proficiency. The group is presently trying to determine whether there are firms willing to participate in the program. Each firm will be asked to send three people to the program.

4. Action Items.


Nominating Committee. John Morecroft moved and Bob Eberlein seconded a motion that: "the nominating committee consist of David Andersen, Yaman Barlas, Isaac Dyner, John Morecroft and John Sterman." The motion passed.


Creation of a ByLaws and Policies Committee. Mike Radzicki moved and Bob Eberlein seconded a motion that: "the Policy Council endorse the creation of a committee under the chairmanship of Mike Radzicki that will examine the Society's ByLaws and Policies and recommend changes that will make them more accurate and consistent." The motion passed.


Creation of an Awards Committee. Mike Radzicki moved and Bob Eberlein seconded a motion that: "the Policy Council create a committee that will think through the structure of the Society's awards and incentives and recommend any changes that would enhance the Society's ability to achieve its goals."

A discussion ensued as to the reason for forming such a committee. The consensus seemed to be that a larger slate of Society awards could be used to attract people to the Society in the first place, keep them in the Society once they are members, and reward a larger number of people for their achievements in the field. David Andersen wondered if it would be better to have a committee focus on non-award mechanisms for broadening the Society's membership base. Bob Eberlein suggested that the Jay Wright Forrester Award committee, rather than a new committee, be asked to handle this assignment. George Richardson said that, if the motion passed, he'd appoint the committee's members. The motion passed.


Transfer of the Gordon Brown Fund to the Creative Learning Exchange. Mike Radzicki moved and Bob Eberlein seconded a motion that: "the motion to move the Gordon Brown Fund to the Creative Learning Exchange be untabled." The motion passed.

Mike Radzicki reminded the Council that, at its 11 March 1997 meeting, George Richardson appointed a committee consisting of Jay Forrester, Jim Hines, Nan Lux, Mike Radzicki, Lees Stunts, and George Richardson, to rethink the administration of the GBF and report back to the Council at its next meeting." Radzicki went on to say that, during the last five months the committee has met, via email, and reached a consensus. More specifically, the committee's recommendation is that the Society move the Gordon Brown Fund to the Creative Learning Exchange. The thinking of the committee is embodied in a document drafted by Jay Forrester and available on this web site. After some limited discussion, the Council passed the untabled motion unanimously.

5. Adjournment.

Bob Eberlein moved and Isaac Dyner seconded a motion "to adjourn." The motion passed and the meeting was adjourned at 7:02 PM.

Respectfully submitted.

Michael J. Radzicki